Skift Take

As these unbundled programs take hold in the industry, affecting how reservation systems structure fare data, it will be very difficult to bundle them up again. We expect this trend to continue and become the new normal around the world.

Etihad Airways has recently moved to a new “transparent pricing” model, introducing new Fare Choices, as it calls them, in eight tiers ranging from Breaking Deals to Freedom.

As part of the same pricing update, it has now revealed a new baggage policy which increases weight allowance and reduces bag fees.

The airline had mentioned it would update the fee structure during the announcement of its new Fare Choices in August, but has now published the full details.

On most routes, the airline will shift to a “baggage piece” policy. Customers can check one, two, or three bags, corresponding to their Fare Choice, the route, and Etihad Guest loyalty program membership status.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer, said the airline had moved to a “fair and transparent” baggage concept, as well as the new tiers to match industry best practices. “Our new Fare Choices are an easier way for guests to understand what they are paying for, offering clearer pricing, and the flexibility which best suits their travel plans,” he said. “This also applies to their baggage requirements.”

The airline will charge less for excess baggage on most fares. On some routes, the fees for each 23 kg (51 lbs) piece of luggage will be reduced by up to 90 per cent, and the airline offers customers a further 30 per cent off when they pre-purchase that extra baggage allowance directly from Etihad Airways up to 24 hours before they travel.

Members of Etihad Airways’ loyalty program, Etihad Guest, get an extra bag or additional weight allowance, depending on the market and route.

The details of Etihad’s new baggage tiers follow:

  • Increased allowance for Economy Value and Economy Freedom guests on certain routes from 30 kg (66 lbs) to two pieces of baggage at 23 kg (51 lbs) per bag—a total allowance of 46 kg (101 lbs).
  • On selected routes, the Economy Class allowance has been increased for all fare choices from 30 kg to two pieces of baggage at 23 kg per bag.
  • In premium cabins on certain routes, the allowance has been increased from 40/50 kg, to two pieces of baggage at 32 kg per bag.
  • Etihad Gold and Platinum members will receive one extra piece of baggage at 32 kg on piece concept routes, compared to the previous limit of 15 kg (33 lbs) and 20 kg (44 lbs) respectively.
  • For piece concept markets, Etihad Silver members now receive a minimum of 2 bags of 23 kg.

Divorcing fees and services from the base fare creates false sense of discounting by airlines, which artificially inflates competitors’ pricing, by comparison, and creates a ‘sticker-price shock’ advantage.

By following the unbundled pricing trend of competitors, Etihad has also made it easier for customers to compare Etihad’s prices on a like-to-like basis before booking. Going against trend, by increasing baggage allowance and reducing baggage fees, is the competitive sweetener.


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Tags: airlines, Etihad Airways, unbundled pricing

Photo credit: Etihad Airways introduces unbundled "Fare Choices." Etihad Airways

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